Generally, the idea of “Valentine’s Day” makes me gag like a Scandinavian spoonful of lukewarm lutefisk as I consider it a “manufactured” holiday designed to make women feel lonely, men feel abused, and to help restaurants, candy stores, florists, jewelery marts, card makers, makeup manufacturers and diet plans experience the cash infusion they so need after the post-Holiday glow has worn off. But I realize that not everyone sees it this way.
Every Year at this time, as I take stock of “the body situation” before receiving more delightful Valentines Day chocolates, it always seems there is more of me to love…and that’s really quite ok with me for a couple reasons.
1.) I feel truly cared for by a generous, creative, brilliant husband who creates food “filled with love” that he cooks and serves me on a bi-nightly basis. 2.) He likes my curves and I don’t mind them as long as I can still fit into my favorite jeans and tie my own shoe laces. NO, my favorite jeans are not the stretchy “pajama jeans” you may have seen of late on insomniac TV but I do wish I had been the one who thought of that idea first
If you are clever enough in this season to find yourself dating or falling in love with someone who knows their way around the kitchen, or maybe they have a modest interest in LEARNING, or they are just smart enough to have a decently stocked bar sans plastic red cups… you are a momofuku. It’s not a bad word, look it up mom.
If you are a food lover finding yourself in this situation, take the opportunity to explore any sort of culinary bent or talents you see emerging and help selflessly develop them so that you may eventually selfishly reap the benefits of their future skills and knowledge. Then invest in a treadmill or eliptical machine to work off calories while watching your nightly favorite food porn a la Bourdain, Zimmern or Iron Chef America.
An Added Bonus to the Culinary Gift: For all the ladies who may be reading this and are in a relatively new relationship – getting a guy a gift related to food will be much less threatening to him than anything implying a too intimate too soon “love” situation…and will be much less awkward for you if he doesn’t reciprocate. Even in this day and age – the way to a mans’ heart is still through his stomach. Start there and gradually work your way into his more vital organs like some sort of buttery, irresistible cholesterol with breasts. Make like a fantastic, prime, thick cut, rare ribeye steak – classic, simple and satisfying – and you will “meat” your match. (Insert groans here). But really, it works.
As a lady who ended up with an amazing guy, I have softened my skeptical view on Valentines day over the years and now generally view any opportunity to express my appreciation to him worth exploiting. I have found that either tools, books or kitchen supplies are the best gifts for my man, as they are actually used and appreciated (whereas even the nicest cashmere sweaters usually end up hanging on my side of the closet in short time).
Eventually, as time goes on and your lives intertwine, you will find yourselves even more on the same page regarding food, and that will translate to smoothing out other areas of your lives as well. This year at Christmas, I laughed out loud as I opened my gifts and realized he had bought me all the items I had considered for him: a potato ricer, a gnocchi board and the culinarily inspired song collection by One Ring Zero published in the book “The Recipe Project” . In return, I had purchased him the sausage making attachment for our Kitchen Aid Mixer, and the “Complete Book of Butchering, Smoking, Curing and Sausage Making” as well as the new Ferran Adria Biography “Ferran: The inside story of El Bulli and the man who reinvented food”. Our love and our passion is tied to the food we make that we feed and nourish each other with. It’s a spicy, exciting, always evolving sort of love life to have.
Seriously, all puns aside, you might ask “How does one start this process?” and to that end I have written down the perfect Recipe for falling in love in the Kitchen.
Step One: Peruse a selection of non-traditional, Kitchen Oriented Valentines day gifts starting here with this selection available at a discounted rate on Amazon.com . Skip the heart shaped girly stuff and move directly to knife sharpeners, a great knife, a boos block cutting board, grilling or pizza making accessories or some alder planks for salmon. Get a gift that makes him feel like a man – he doesn’t want to bake heart shaped cookies.
Step Two: Buy the gift (order it today!), make your first meal together (give him room to be creative don’t dominate) and sit down at the dining table with one lit candle and eat it together. Talk about what you like and what you would both want to improve. Plan the next meal.
Step Three: During dessert, be like a sweet and savory custard. Not too sugary, not too salty – he needs to want more. Keep your ankles crossed and be a lady but kiss with abandon. Repeat.
Don’t fuss over the details too much and in short time, love will bloom like a righteous souffle given the proper amounts of fluff, heat and space.